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Top 5 reasons the World of Chocolate Museum & Cafe is a real Orlando hidden gem

Written by
Published: March 30, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Recently I was invited to tour World of Chocolate Museum & Cafe — located near the intersection of International Drive and Central Florida Parkway, at Stop 37A on the I-Ride Trolley. After our visit and tour, my husband and I left the building brainstorming ideas for words to describe this place. We both agreed that "hidden gem" was a pretty good fit. Despite being open for about 6 months, neither of us knew it existed, and as I tweeted out photos during our visit, I found that many of our local Orlando friends were not aware of it either. "To the best of our knowledge, there is not another venue like it," said General Manager John Dussling, and totally I agree with John's statement! The word is bound to get out about this phenomenal place, but for now, here are the top five reasons why I believe the World of Chocolate Museum & Cafe is a real Orlando hidden gem.

5. The taste testing and gift shop! When you take your museum tour you will learn that cocoa has an amazing amount of antioxidant protection. In fact, it has more than 10 times the value of blueberries if you consume it in its purest form. (Unfortunately for me, I like my cocoa mixed with lots of sugar and fat, and the more of those that you add, the lower the antioxidant value drops.)

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Towards the end of your museum tour you will get the chance to sample several varieties of chocolate from all around the world. This will give you a chance to see what ratio of cocoa you prefer.

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That of course, will leads us to the gift shop where you can buy your favorite varieties of chocolates and take them home to enjoy! Need a gift for that someone that has everything? You will find chocolates here that you can not find any where else. There are coffee cups, hot cocoa mix and various other fun items to choose from as well.

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4. The versatility! World of Chocolate Museum & Cafe is a wonderful, truly unique experience to enjoy. The romantic, luxurious smell of chocolate in the air makes it the perfect place to visit for a date night. Children come with their families and on school field trips to learn history, see the marvelous sculptures, and to try the chocolate. The tour guides are extremely interactive and know how to keep their groups entertained and engaged. Everyone will even get a bit of a geography lesson as they learn the parts of the world where chocolate is manufactured.

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There is also a workshop inside this 10,000 square foot facility, that is well-suited for receptions, networking opportunities or corporate team-building sessions. The building so so versitle, there is literally a "world" of possibilities.

3. The Cafe part of World of Chocolate Museum & Cafe. I arrived in the late afternoon after the heat, hustle and bussle of a media event at a near by theme park. Just a few minutes after I arrived it was almost like I felt like I had permission to breathe a deep sigh and relax. As I waited for my husband to meet me there after work, I texted him and told him not to rush, that I was nestled in a comfortable booth in the European-style Cafe, just as cozy as I could possibly be. Sade was playing in the background and there is a warmth to the Cafe that almost made me feel like I was waiting for a spa appointment. I found out later that this is no accident. They provide free wi-fi and have even painted the walls in colors that make you feel calm because they want to encourage you to feel at rest here. The wonderful smell of chocolates from the world's finest chocolate makers fills the air. There are  more than 200 delicious options to choose from!

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You will also find a beautiful display case full of cheesecakes, chocolate mousse and other wonderful confections. You can wash it all down with your choice of bottled sodas, tea, coffee, or of course - hot chocolate!

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2. The museum! Your guided museum tour begins in a representation of a rainforest environment where cacao trees grow and a historical ship has docked. It reminded me a little of that first scene of Living With The Land at Epcot. It had a wonderful, dark mysterious feel.

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World of Chocolate also has more several history rooms which chart hundreds of years of the evolution and growth of the chocolate industry from Central and South America, throughout Europe and into the United States! You will also learn the different process for making solid and hollow chocolate. Don't miss the enormous collection of antique and modern chocolate bar wrappers from all around the world. Here is just a sampling of photos of some of my favorite parts of the guided tour.

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1. The amazing,  chocolate sculptures that feature the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, along with busts of famous individuals, and so much more! These are nothing short of breathtaking! Each one is carefully hand-crafted from actual dark, milk, and even white chocolate. They range in size from about 3 feet to over 6 feet. As you can imagine, the smell of chocolate fills all of these rooms, which are kept at a very precise temperature.

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Each piece has been sprayed with a chemical preservative and that makes it a tiny bit less tempting to break off pieces and start munching away.

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John shared with us that many of the sculptures traveled over seas by boat for many days, and they had to be perfectly packaged for the entire journey.  Understandably he was thrilled when they arrived safely to their destination. Again this is just a small sampling of some of my favorites. There are several rooms full of these sculputures.

So there you have it, my top 5 reasons why The World of Chocolate Museum & Cafe is a real Orlando hidden gem. I hope you will take a few hours and visit this amazing and unique attraction the next time you are in the area, and come up with your own top five list!

Readers' Opinions

From 72.183.113.242 on March 30, 2014 at 9:09 PM
Unbelievably cool! what a wonderful departure from Mickey!
From Annette Forrest on March 31, 2014 at 10:08 AM
Krista your column today is sublime. I loved it better than fine chocolate! It was such a treat!!! What I like about your articles is that with pictures you take and the way you write it feels like you are taking us with you to these places. I feel like I am right there as I am reading, like a wonderful friend invited me for a day of adventure. And the pictures. I don't know how you take such good pictures. They are coffee table book quality pictures, better than on postcards. I love them! What an absolute delight it is to see a new Krista Joy column up! :)
From Iris Hernandez on March 31, 2014 at 1:38 PM
As a local Orlando girl myself I am amazed and saddened that I had not heard of this hidden gem. Here I thought I've seen and done it all and then BAM!!! Thank you so much for this article as I will be visiting the World of Chocolate very soon :-)
From Anthony Murphy on March 31, 2014 at 6:26 PM
Love it!
From Pyra-Danny V on March 31, 2014 at 7:23 PM
Great photography skills!
And your timing is awesome. My clan was actually going to visit World of Chocolate last Sunday but alas the Florida storms on Saturday prevented us from driving that way.
We actually found out about this "local" (we're from Tampa) gem via Groupon!! Haha my clan knows how to make it rain! Hopefully we'll try again to go soon. We weren't so sure to trust Groupon since I didn't find any reviews as detailed as yours online. Now I'm not only rest assured but I'm also excited!!
From Annette Forrest on March 31, 2014 at 7:55 PM
I actually shared this column with my husband and sons over dinner. I waited for dessert because I knew the chocolate story would be so tempting. I actually made a quick chocolate cream pie on honor of this story!

My husband then told me that when we was a kid he lived in Akron, Ohio and his parents would take him to Erie Pennsylvania sometimes. They had a place there called "Daffins World of Chocolate". I don't know if it's still there. But they had a huge "chocolate kingdom" with a castle made of chocolate and a chocolate river, like on Willy Wonka the movie. they also had animals made of chocolate (statues). He said that when you went there and did the tour you would smell like chocolate the whole ride home! It got in your clothes and you smelled like chocolate! Must have been all those antioxidants! :)

From 205.176.91.173 on April 4, 2014 at 6:05 AM
Since I am Krista's mother and not at all prejudiced, I too
have an honest opinion. The post is fabulous! The writer is very observant, her pictures show the greatest points of interest and those images make me want to go there!YUM
From 71.48.255.8 on April 4, 2014 at 12:26 PM
Jane Kresge, I thought the price to tour Chocolate World was high. Perhaps I am just spoiled from having been raised with access to Hershey's in PA. and seeing the chocolate actually being made.
From Michael Hudson on April 4, 2014 at 12:28 PM
Great article!

Has anybody also been to Hershey's Chocolate World in PA? It is a separate thing to the Hershey theme park though it is on the same grounds as the park. I've been there and enjoyed it. Very Hershey-centric of course, and it doesn't have the museum aspect that World of Chocolate seems to have.

In any case, it would be nice to see someone compare/contrast the two.

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